Gabriel Heinze relieved of duties as Atlanta United head coach

Gabriel Heinze has been relieved of his duties as Atlanta United head coach, the club announced Sunday.

Assistant coach Rob Valentino will take over as interim head coach with the club saying in a statement "a variety of issues relating to the day-to-day leadership of the team led the club to this decision."

“This was certainly not a decision we wanted to make at this point in our season, but it was the right one for the club,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “Gabi is a talented coach and is undeniably passionate about his craft and the sport of soccer. We are grateful to him for his service; and wish him all the best in the future.”

Heinze went 2-4-7 with Atlanta after being named head coach on Dec. 18 after two-and-a-half years at Argentine club Velez Sarsfield. He was the third full-time head coach in club history, following Tata Martino and Frank de Boer. The club and De Boer mutually agreed to part ways last July and Stephen Glass served as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The news comes just days after Heinze revealed that he had decided to have star forward Josef Martinez train away from the first team.

"He doesn't have any kind of fitness problem. It's my decision that he train away from the team," Heinze told media on Thursday. "He'll continue to train on his own.”

Atlanta United are coming off a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution Saturday, which extended their winless streak to eight matches. Atlanta are 10th in the Eastern Conference, four points below the playoff line after 13 matches. He is the second MLS coach to be relieved of his duties this year after Toronto FC parted ways with Chris Armas on July 4.